A Possible Link Between Exercise & Reduced Risk for Hearing Loss

A Possible Link Between Exercise & Reduced Risk for Hearing Loss

In Hearing Health, Hearing Loss by Bary E. Williams Au.D.

Regular exercise has benefits for people of all ages. Besides boosting our mood, keeping our heart healthy, managing blood sugar levels, and keeping our weight down and our muscles strong, the effects of an exercise regiment are far reaching. Now researchers believe that instituting a regular fitness routine may help to reduce your risk for hearing loss later in life. 

A connection between exercise and hearing loss

Healthy hearing relies on a regular supply of blood flow to the auditory system. When the tiny hairs called cilia of the inner ear that send sound information to the brain to be processed can become damaged due to poor blood supply. 

To make it simple, the connection between exercise and hearing loss rests in increased blood flow as a result of a regular exercise regime. Many researchers believe this is enough to lessen the risk of hearing loss. Researchers have found that when mice do not get enough exercise, the actual structures of their auditory systems begin to collapse.  This is close to the human auditory experience as well. When we stay active we have a higher chance of improved hearing health. 

Exercises in hearing health

A study from Johns Hopkins University explored links between physical activity and hearing ability and found that low levels of physical activity increased incidence of hearing loss. Age related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis is the breakdown of hearing over a lifetime. 

When we commit to getting our heart rate up for at least 30 minutes about five times a week we increase our chances of maintaining healthy blood flow, which affects our hearing health. While there are many factors that affect your hearing, certainly making sure to add daily exercise to your daily routine can raise your chances of hearing healthy into your golden years.

Make it a routine you’ll stick to

There are many factors affecting hearing health including lifestyle, eating habits, genetics, head injury and exposure to loud noises. When we commit to a healthy diet and a healthy exercise regiment this affects our emotional health, physical health and inevitably our hearing health. The best kind of exercise that you can do to prevent hearing loss is the activity that you’ll actually do. Lots of people make unrealistic resolutions that they will exercise for hours everyday starting on the New Year or a birthday. 

While these exercise regimens often start strong, over time they may take up too much time to fit in a daily schedule and people fall off of the habit. Sadly it’s your health that loses in these instances. Choose exercise that you can do easily. Try a high-energy dance or yoga class you can do via video in your home. If you live close to work or school try biking instead of driving. Even a twenty minute walk is better than sitting all day with no exercise. Make exercise part of your everyday routine to ensure greater health for longer.

Stay positive

Endorphins are one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of the brain chemicals, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which play an important part in regulating your mood. Regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain boosting your mood and overall sense of well being. 

A regular exercise routine also helps to improve appetite and sleep cycles. Remember that you are giving yourself a gift every time you exercise. Even if it is uncomfortable at first or you feel too tired, often mood and energy level will both rise with your heart rate. Think of the exercise as a sort of gift and therapy to yourself to protect your hearing and improve your overall health.

The beauty of an active life

After your workout you will most likely feel calm. If you are dealing with diagnosed or undiagnosed hearing loss it can be stressful to navigate the day with this disability. A regular exercise routine will help you work through this stress and perhaps even give you the motivation to seek treatment. 

The sooner you deal with hearing loss the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of hearing aids. Hearing aids make it easier to communicate, stay social and stay active. Enjoy an active and healthy life with hearing aids and regular exercise. Do it for your hearing, do it for your health, and do it for your quality of life.

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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